The Northside Southpaws are an entirely unique mandolin/guitar duo who perform high-energy string ragtime and other early american roots musical styles on left-handed resonator instruments. Based in Chicago, NSSP released their debut cd, "Stomp Glide Wobble", in early 2008. On this all-instrumental effort, duo partners John Hasbrouck (mandolin) and Matt Gandurski (guitar) crank out their interpretations of classic stringband tunes by such marvelously obscure acts as The Mississippi Mud Steppers, The Scottdale String Band, and The Three Stripped Gears.
John Hasbrouck's debut solo fingerstyle guitar cd, "Ice Cream", was cited by Acoustic Guitar magazine as one of the "TOP CDs of 2002". John teaches guitar and mandolin privately and is on staff at the Old Town School of Folk Music. He works with several bands including Hardscrabble, The Lawrence Peters Outfit, and Majors Junction.
Matt Gandurski is an accomplished songwriter and fingerstyle guitarist with several solo releases to his credit. He has worked with too many bands to list. Matt teaches guitar at the Beverly Arts Center on Chicago's south side, and plays lead guitar for Majors Junction.
"Stomp Glide Wobble" reviewed in Mandolin Magazine, Spring 2008
How is it possible not to love a CD of resophonic mandolin and guitar that instructs the record shop to file it under "Obsolete Ragtime and Sentimental Song"? When it comes to the brilliant Northside Southpaws, the answer is that it's simply impossible.
Consisting of two lefties, John Hasbrouck on resonator mandolin and Matt Gandurski on resonator guitar, the Southpaws hail from the fertile feilds of Chicagoland, where blues, ragtime, jazz, swing and old-time country intermingle insatiably and musicians find influences from Old Town to Evanston to the South Side.
The result sounds a bit like Mike Compton and David Long doing their ruthlessly beautiful and authentic country blues duets, only featuring more urban roots sounds than Delta blues and deep hollow country (although the Southpaws have plenty of that in their bag of tricks, as well).
Mandolinist John Hasbrouck is a true master of the exotic resophonic style of mandolin. If you still harbor delusions that the mechanically amplified version of the acoustic mandolin can sound only hard-edged and ragged to the bone, listen here with fresh ears.
Hasbrouck's wonderful touch and deft technique often left me thinking he'd switched a more conventional mandolin in on some of the cuts. Nope, it's all done on a National Reso-Phonic Guitars Inc. eight-string mandolin, and I'm here to say it sounds just great on the material presented.
The same goes for guitarist Matt Gandurski, who is so tasteful and understated he always seems to play just the right chord, lick or rhythm chop that Hasbrouck's mandolin line was calling out for.
The material is an amazing mix of familiar tunes like "Blackberry Rag" to a wealth of classic ragtime-era material like "Tanner's Rag". No cut is longer than 3:25, so everything here glides by like a midnight freight highballing through the northern Illinois prairieland.
"Stomp Glide Wobble" is to my ears one of the best mandolin CDs of the year, filled with an unspoiled sound and infectious enthusiasm that will win over fans from bluegrass, jazz and swing, blues and other styles. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by David McCarty